We love audio dramas! Different than ordinary books on tape, where a narrator reads a story aloud in a mostly monotone voice, an audio drama makes a story come alive through real-life sounds, music, and a variety of different voices. An audio drama is filled with adventure and excitement, keeping listeners on the tips of their toes.
From Adventures in Odyssey to Focus on the Family’s Radio Theatre, we have a small collection of audio dramas that we love to listen to on a rainy day or in the car on a long trip. We are excited to add another story to our radio drama collection, The Dragon and the Raven by Heirloom Audio Productions.
The Dragon and the Raven is based on the book The Dragon and the Raven by G.A. Henty. Heirloom Audio Productions brings this G.A. Henty classic to life as we listen in to the story of the ruthless Danes as they take over kingdom after kingdom in England. Follow Edmund as he embarks on a great adventure during the time of the Middle Ages and finds himself fighting alongside the great King Alfred of Wessex. Go with Edmund as he witnesses the effects of the invading Danes and learns about forgiveness and loving your enemy.
The Dragon and the Raven is recommended for kids ages 6 to adult and contains a set of two CDs, featuring two and a half hours of fast-moving adventure. I was given the special bonuses that come with the purchase of the family four pack package. Included in the bonuses is The Dragon and the Raven MP3 download, The Dragon and the Raven E-Book by G.A. Henty, the official MP3 soundtrack, printable cast poster, a 46 page study guide and discussion starter, inspirational verse poster with the quote,”The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but victory belongs to the Lord.”, unlimited access to the Live the Adventure Letter e-newsletter, and fun behind-the-scenes videos of the cast creating The Dragon and the Raven.
The study guide and discussion starter is a wonderful companion to the CDs. Each section of the CD has a corresponding section in the study guide to help children understand the storyline, encourage deeper thinking, and define some of the larger vocabulary used in the story. It also includes a nice biography of G.A. Henty, the author of the story, and King Alfred the Great.
The kids and I gathered in the living room together to listen to this two and a half hour audio adventure. We listened to one CD one afternoon and listened to the second CD the following day. My son colored while he listened. After hearing the first CD, my son couldn’t wait to hear the rest of the story.
We all enjoyed this audio drama. The storyline was exciting and engaging. You feel as if you are right there with Edmund as he goes on his exciting adventure.
I think the study guide that accompanies the CD is a great addition. I didn’t use it while we listened to the CD because I knew that would take some of the fun away from the experience. We did go over a few of the study questions after we had listened to the entire story, though. Going over the study questions was a great way to evaluate listening comprehension. Because the story was presented in such a vivid visual way, my son really did retain quite a lot of information, which was great! The study guide also contains three great topical Bible studies; one on loving your enemy, one on the importance of nation following God’s laws, and the last one is about the importance of words. These are all themes from the story. Lastly, there is a section at the end of the study about the history of Britain and England.
The production was top quality, very realistic, and impressive. If you like Adventures in Odyssey and Focus on the Family Radio Theatre, you can expect the same kind of quality from Heirloom Audio Productions. Because the CD is done so well and is so realistic, some of the parts can be a bit intense, though. I winced a bit at the mention of beheading and someone being “full of arrows”. Because the theme of the CD is about a lot of war, it could be too much for a younger audience. My 5th grader seemed to be okay with it, though.
The main theme throughout The Dragon and the Raven, is the importance of forgiveness and loving your enemy. Featured in the CD case is a verse from Proverbs 21:31 which states, “The horse is prepared for the way of battle, but victory belongs to the Lord.” Great character building morals for kids to learn! I’d definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a fun way for their kids to learn and experience history. And…if you are going to be going on a road trip with the kids, this CD would be the perfect addition to your road trip bag!